The House Rules Committee convened for the first time this year on Wednesday with two conspicuous member absences due to apparent retribution for voting against Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFeehery: How GOP takes back the House in two years Warren, Brown voice support for controversial Biden budget office pick Principles to unify America MORE (R-Ohio).

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsWhy Trump's defeat is bittersweet for Texas Democrats Bottom line Texas Democrat Colin Allred beats back GOP challenger MORE (R-Texas) and ranking Democrat Louise SlaughterDorothy (Louise) Louise SlaughterDemocrats must go on the offensive against voter suppression House passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading Sotomayor, Angela Davis formally inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame MORE (D-N.Y.) only hinted at the sudden departures of Florida Republican Reps. Dan Webster and Rich NugentRichard (Rich) B. NugentRepublicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers Republicans fear retribution for joining immigration revolt Former aide will run to replace lawmaker MORE


Webster accrued 12 votes as an alternative candidate for Speaker against Boehner on Tuesday, while Nugent voted for Webster. News broke hours later that both had been removed from the powerful House Rules Committee.

Members of the majority party on the panel, which decides how legislation is considered on the House floor, are selected by the Speaker. 

Sessions and Slaughter only remarked upon how the committee's two newest members were suddenly higher in seniority before beginning a routine organizational meeting for the new Congress. Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Doug Collins (R-Ga.) had already been tapped late last year to replace members reassigned to other committees.

"My first time — I don't know about yours, Louise — but I wasn't two chairs in," Sessions said of the newest members' seating arrangements on the dais.

"I sat in the last chair for a good while," Slaughter said.

"It's like being in the gutter seat. Every time somebody moves in and out, you've got to move up and back," Sessions joked.

The nameplates for Webster and Nugent had already been removed from the dais, with empty corresponding chairs.

Sessions told reporters Tuesday night that no decisions had been made yet on when replacements for Webster and Nugent will be announced, or who the new members will be.